A cow named Cuddly searches for a quiet place to hit the hay in this book with barnyard sounds supplied in an embedded sound chip.
From the cover, toddlers can push a big green button (which doubles as a speaker) to activate the chip, which features a loud moo with other animal sounds in the background; die-cut circles in the lower corner of the cover and subsequent pages ensure its accessibility throughout. Cuddly tries to bunk with the hens, a horse, and the pigs to no avail. She has a brainstorm and counts the sheep in a field and quickly falls asleep. Scheffler, of The Gruffalo fame, uses richly colored gouache to paint scenes with friendly, wide-eyed farm residents against pastoral backgrounds. Young readers may be confused to see a very bright sky in this tale set at twilight. Each one-page scene is paired with a nicely scanning quatrain set in a large font against a brightly colored background on the opposite page. In the companion title, titular Higgly Hen loses her eggs as they hatch, legs first, and then walk away. In slapstick fashion, she chases the walking eggs around the farm until she finds them all in time for them to complete their emergence. This offering sports a large yellow button that clucks realistically when pressed. The battery can be replaced by opening a panel (with a tiny Phillips screwdriver) in the back of the book, but caregivers may choose to let the noisemaker die a natural death.
The art and writing can stand on their own while the gimmick will likely distract anyone reading aloud even as it delights little ears and fingers. (Board book. 1-3)